Ann Madsen – Metaphors vs. Idioms in the Book of Isaiah

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Kelsey Wilding:  What’s the difference between idioms and metaphors?

Ann Madsen:  A metaphor is something that stands for something else, that it…I explained it in one of the first lectures in class that you say, he is a lamb.  Now when I say that, what do you think of?  What’s the first word that comes to your mind?

Kelsey Wilding: I would say like meek or humble.

Ann Madsen: Yeah, meek or humble, but it’s like me.  You have fed lambs in Wyoming as a thirteen-year-old and felt like they were going to suck your arm right into their…you’re feeding them with a nipple on a bottle and I really was afraid, that I had to hold on.  I was shaking because I was holding on so tight, that that lamb was going to pull my whole arm into its mouth.  That gives me a whole different view of a lamb than this meek, little beautiful white lamb in the corner of it.  Or if you’ve seen a lamb that was sick or there are all kinds of things, it depends on your experience what the metaphor means.  I don’t go along with the idea that I can tell you what this metaphor means.  I don’t want to tell you about feeding that lamb.  You’ve got your own lamb and you can use that metaphor, and the Lord can use that metaphor in teaching you something that he doesn’t need to teach me.

Kelsey Wilding: So, metaphors are used to teach more people instead of having it, or translated this is how it is?

Ann Madsen: Yeah, see.  For instance, in English, lamb is lamb, in French, lamb is lamb.  I mean it’s’ a different word, but it’s a lamb.  So, it’s an object, and I try to teach my students to see the picture of the object, and then decide what it means.  Don’t say, oh, it says, the water will rise up to your neck.  And it does day that in one place, and I’m a swimmer, and believe me, when you tell me the water has risen up to my neck, I know I can swim out of it probably, but there are people drowning in such situations, so it has a different meaning for me as a swimmer than it does to someone that can’t swim.  That would just be instant death to them.

Kelsey Wilding: Yeah, so then what is an idiom?

Ann Madsen: Well, an idiom is a totally different thing.

Kelsey Wilding: A totally different thing?  So, they’re not related at all?

Ann Madsen: The related word to a metaphor, would be simile.

Kelsey Wilding: Simile.

Ann Madsen: A simile is when you say it is like this, but a metaphor just says, it is this.  It is a rock.  It is like Jesus said to Peter, ‘you’re a rock, and upon this rock, I will build My Church.’

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I’m a connoisseur of the esoteric, whether in scripture or desserts. Isaiah’s air of mystery reaches through the ages to draw me in and compels me to uncover his ancient mysteries. While design is my calling, occasionally I lend my words to


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